Cairo, Jul 13 (EFE) – Egyptian President Abdelfatah al Sisi called on Sudan’s neighboring countries to help those fleeing the war-torn East African nation as a peace mediation summit was underway Thursday in a bid to resolve the conflict.
Sudan is in the midst of one of its worst crises in recent history after the country’s top military leaders clashed over a failure to reach an agreement to form a unified army.
In his opening speech at the first summit of Sudan’s neighboring countries held in Cairo, Al Sisi called on “the international community to assume its responsibility and fulfill its commitments to help Sudan’s neighboring countries that have received tens of thousands of refugees to support the ability of these countries to continue helping refugees.”
“Egypt has from the beginning received tens of thousands of refugees who have joined the five million Sudanese citizens already living in Egypt since before” the conflict between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted on April 15, the president added.
The summit aims to establish effective mechanisms to settle the crisis in Sudan, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.
More than 1,000 people have been killed since the conflict began and some 3 million have been displaced.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of Sudanese refugees who have fled to neighboring countries currently stands at 737,801.
Egypt has taken in the most refugees with 255,565, followed by Chad (238,218), South Sudan (160,798), Ethiopia (62,509), Central African Republic (16,719) and Libya (2,992).
In addition there are some 2.4 million people who have been internally displaced by the conflict which continues to rage in the capital, Khartoum, and the troubled Darfur region.
The Cairo summit has brought brings together heads of state and senior officials from Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
A United Nations donor conference in June that aimed to raise $3 billion received pledges of $1.5 billion to fund life-saving relief efforts in Sudan and the region.
Saudi Arabia and the United States have negotiated several ceasefires but have put peace talks on hold after Sudan’s warring factions violated the truces.
The conflict in Sudan pits troops loyal to Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the commander-in-chief, against RSF militiamen led by Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, known as Hemedti.
Hemedti supported al-Burhan in October 2021 when the general seized control of the Sovereign Council that has governed Sudan since the ouster of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
But long-standing tensions between the regular army and the RSF paramilitaries erupted into open combat amid discussions about reorganizing the military to expedite a return to civilian rule. EFE